Politics in Rome

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Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary states that “politics is the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.” This quote’s relevance is shown in numerous instances in Robert Harris’ book “Imperium”, which is narrated by the main character Cicero’s irreplaceable secretary Tiro. This sad yet inevitable truth is showcased throughout this novel by several characters which come and go in the plot of this historical courtroom drama. Several characters did either horrendous acts to the civilians they were representing or either plotted belittling political agendas to try and shape the future of the Roman Empire for centuries to come. These characters to be analyzed include: the former Sicilian governor Gaius Verres, prominent military men such as Pompey the Great and Crassus, along with a young and less powerful Julius Caesar, and the novel’s main character Marcus Cicero, as well as some of the pawns to these great political mind’s chess board. The field of politics attracts some of the greatest minds to ever walk this Earth, and brings these rather wise figures many privileges, but a clean pair of hands is seldom among these luxuries. This tale of private advantage in the public sector begins with the prosecution of Gaius Verres by Marcus Cicero in the extortion courts of Rome during Cicero’s early political days.
Gaius Verres was the quaestorian governor of the Sicilian province when his greed finally began to surface when Sthenius of Thermae came to Cicero’s home telling the horrors of what this ruthless governor had been up to. Sthenius claimed that Verres had been swindling Sicilian’s out of their most cherished objects such as bronze statues and anything made of precious metals. This crooked governor was giving out his newly ...

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...is military accomplishments, but Crassus and his successes buried the great Pompey in a sea of jealousy. Thirdly Crassus, Caesar and the other men among the conspiracy aimed at overthrowing the powerful Roman government just to extend their wealth, all the while cloaking the sinister goal of their plan as a farming reform bill that to the common man, would seem like a great plan towards euphoria among the classes. Though some people, especially in the political field, use their distinctive positions for nothing more than private gain. Others use their elected positions to bring about more prosperous days to the citizens they worked effortlessly to have vote for them, as well as private gains once greed takes hold. Marcus Cicero was the best at balancing these two burdens and in the end of this story of dirty handed politics, come out as the victor for now at least.
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